Dr Amjad Saqib, a Pakistani philanthropist and founder of Akhuwat, the country’s largest interest-free microfinance programme, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.
There are 343 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, including 251 individuals and 92 organisations from all across the world.
“My services are beyond such awards, and they are solely for Allah’s sake,” Dr Amjad, Chairman of the Akhuwat Foundation.
According to Dr Amjad, no one may nominate himself for the Nobel Prize, and the entire procedure is free of lobbying.
“An official of a foreign country may have recommended my name for the award because people all over the world are aware of my humanitarian services… but I am not aware of any such development,” he said in response to a question about a Maltese minister recommending his name for the prestigious award.
Dr Amjad was one of five people honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award, named after a Filipino president who died in a plane crash, for his “first-of-its-kind” interest- and collateral-free microfinance programme that has benefited millions of disadvantaged people.
Akhuwat has developed into the country’s largest microfinance institution, distributing the equivalent of $900 million and claiming a nearly 100% loan repayment rate, some two decades after its founding.
Dr Amjad was recognised for “his inspiring belief that human goodness and solidarity will find ways to eradicate poverty.” by using places of worship to distribute money.
Dr Amjad began his career in 1985, after graduating from King Edward Medical University, by joining Pakistan’s prestigious civil service.
For seven years, he worked in numerous high-level government roles, notably as the director of the Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP), a rural development and microfinance initiative run by the Punjab government. The programme attempted to mobilise the disadvantaged through social mobilisation, community organising, and financial access.
He chose to quit the civil service and devote his life to the objective of creating a poverty-free society by forming Akhuwat after concluding that an alternative technique is required to meet the needs of the poor.
In 2003, Dr Amjad resigned from the Civil Service and created Akhuwat. Since its inception, he has served as the company’s CEO and key driving force. Akhuwat now delivers a realistic Shariah-compliant microfinance concept that is both sustainable and reproducible after seventeen years of successful operations. Apart from Akhuwat, the donor volunteers for a variety of civil society organisations in the fields of education, health, disabilities, banking, and finance.